TRS on shaky ground ahead of bypolls

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 15:51

Hyderabad: The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS)
appears to be on a shaky ground in the run-up to the impending
by-elections to six assembly seats in the Telangana region of
Andhra Pradesh.

Contrary to expectations that it would ride high on the
so-called `Telangana sentiment` in the by-polls, the TRS may
have lost a lot of ground in the last few months after the
statehood movement remained paralysed, observers say.

Adding to its woes is the strong antagonism being faced by
at least two of its probable candidates in their respective
segments where by-elections are due.

Gampa Govardhan of Kamareddy in Nizamabad district and T
Rajaiah of Station Ghanpur in Warangal district, who resigned
from their assembly seats after switching over to TRS from
Telugu Desam and Congress respectively, are said to be facing
rough weather in their constituencies for "personal" reasons.

This is causing anxiety in the TRS which cannot field
alternative candidates as it has to keep the promise of
fielding the incumbents who "sacrificed" their posts for the
cause of Telangana state.

"If we can`t win these seats, a fresh campaign will be
launched by the opponents (of a separate state) that the
Telangana issue has died down. But the ground situation is
different," a member of the TRS politburo pointed out.

In Mahbubnagar constituency too the TRS is caught in an
awkward position. It wants to field Telangana Employees` Joint
Action Committee leader Srinivas Goud as its candidate but is
wary of the sympathy factor for late MLA Rajeshwar Reddy`s
wife, who is expected to contest as an independent candidate.

In fact, the TRS desperately sought to make her its candidate
but she refused, party sources said.

In Nagarkurnool in Mahbubnagar district, the TRS will have
to support former TDP MLA Nagam Janardhan Reddy, who too quit
his post on the statehood demand. Nagam`s refusal to join TRS
or any other party has come as a dampener to the separatist
outfit.

That leaves only two out of six seats -- Adilabad and
Kollapur -- for the TRS to fancy a chance.

"More than the numbers, the entire statehood issue will be
at stake. If we lose, it will be construed as the death of the
issue as such. That`s the fear haunting us," the politburo
member lamented.

Now, there is talk that the Bharatiya Janata Party is
seeking to jump into the by-election fray at least in some
segments to test its waters. With the Congress failing to keep
its word on creation of Telangana, the BJP is projecting
itself as the lone force that can make a separate state
happen.

The significant response to BJP state president G Kishan
Reddy`s Telangana Poru Yatra has stirred a debate in the party
on the need for re-assessing its strength in the region that
once formed its strong base.

Moreover, the BJP has a larger agenda on hand -- of seeing
its resurgence at the national level in 2014 -- and hopes to
make Telangana an ideal platform for the bigger battle.

BJP will obviously eat into TRS` vote bank by playing the
`Telangana sentiment` card and that is what both Congress and
Telugu Desam Party want to happen. Trouble began brewing for
the TRS when the general strike demanding creation of
Telangana state came to an abrupt end in October after
paralyzing every activity in the region for 42 days.

That was the peak of the statehood agitation and the TRS
was basking in its glory.

The TRS was caught on the defensive as the TDP and other
pro-Telangana groups launched an onslaught accusing the former
of "mortgaging the movement" for pecuniary gains.

By going into hibernation after the general strike, KCR
did not help his party`s or the movement`s cause.
All this may come to haunt the TRS in the ensuing
by-elections, the observers say.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 15:51

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